Drawing a Line with People Who Suck the Oxygen Out of Your Tank

drawing a line with people who deflate us

“Almost buddy! Try again. There you go!”

I watched other parents coach my eight-year-old through his first time in a batting cage and a smile crept across my face. They saw the areas where he was struggling, and they each worked together to help him improve.

“Put your right arm up a little bit. Spread your legs out more. There, nice hit!”

With each shout of encouragement, my son got better. His confidence grew, and within a few minutes he was hitting the ball with more often.

On the way home later that evening, he gave a coy little smile and asked Daddy, “So, did you like watching me hit the ball in that batting cage?”

He already knew the answer. But he loved hearing it.

Watching him reminded me how those little pushes from the people who surround us can change the trajectory of our whole lives. Although I know my son will discover his gifts lie in certain areas as he gets older, I never want to discourage him from trying new things.

I never want him to look back on his life and say, “If only I had tried this…”

Recently I shared with some friends how it was their encouragement, accountability and reinforcement that helped me reach new goals in my writing. They rallied behind me as I strove for things I never would have dreamed possible five or six years ago and never once said, “Don’t get your hopes up,” or “Do you think you’re being unrealistic?”

People who speak life make us seize life with both hands. They make us attempt to do what we never thought we would, not because we’re able, but because God is.

But there’s a flip-side to those life-giving words and people, isn’t there? There’s that person we hesitate to share the good news with or discuss dreams with because we know as soon as we do, our hopes will deflate.

limit the negativity 2

Like a balloon getting stuffed into a freezer, the enthusiasm that filled us instantly shrinks. Instead of reaching for the moon, we suddenly feel the need to defend ourselves.

Now, I don’t know who, as my eight-year-old likes to say, has “sucked the oxygen out of your tank” today (thank you, Lego Movie). But I do know a few truths that have helped me face those situations. We will always have some naysayers in our lives, but can I speak a little truth to you? The next time you’re feeling deflated, remember:

  1. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. If God gave you a dream to pursue, he is able to see it through. There isn’t a person on this planet who can stand in his way.
  1. You can limit the negative in your life. If there is a certain person who speaks discouragement every time you share good news, it may be time to find someone else to share your victories with.
  1. You can choose the people you do life with. Like I stated before, I don’t think I would be where I can without the positive influence of friends who have pushed me beyond the limits I placed on myself. When we hear people saying, “I believe in you,” it makes us believe in ourselves.

Always remember to extend grace. You never know what someone who speaks discouragement may be going through. But choose your tribe wisely.

Surround yourself with others who believe the same God who spoke the stars into existence can sustain you as you reach for them. Shine on, and give our Creator all the glory.


Linking up with these communities: #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory

16 thoughts on “Drawing a Line with People Who Suck the Oxygen Out of Your Tank

  1. So good, Abby! Great practical advice here! Surrounding ourselves with supporters, who aren’t afraid to share potentially painful truth on occasion, is so important. In fact I wrote about a similar concept this week… Blessings to you!


  2. Abby,
    When I read the title of your post…immediately some faces flashed to the forefront of my mind. I had to chuckle because sometimes God has the last laugh I believe. I’m sure some looked at Moses and said (smirking) “Yeah right, God, good luck with that one…”
    I believe God is in the business of doing magnificent things through meager people. I think of the times He told me to hold fast to my faith in Him and He proved the naysayers wrong. Time and years of practice in trusting God has helped me to see that there is truly only One opinion that counts. Thanks for urging us to “tune out” the oxygen suckers!!
    Love it,
    Bev xo


    • I think we all have those people in our lives and Lord knows I have to watch my tongue sometimes too. I’m so grateful for his grace and patience. And yes, Bev! God is using you in mighty ways! You are an inspiration. (hugs)


  3. Good thoughts here. It is so important to find people who will speak life and encourage us in what God is calling us to. I also loved the reminder that if God has placed a dream in our hearts he will help us move forward, regardless of what people say . Visiting from #TellHisStory


    • I know there have been times when I’ve been guilty of this too, but God has shown me the power of words and the life they can bring. Thank you for visiting today! Blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. These words are perfect for the the weekend I just experienced. These especially point to the life -giving friends I had the blessing to be with…”People who speak life make us seize life with both hands.” AMEN! I was with a group of writers for a mini retreat and chance to not only get to know each other but speak love and life into each other. I love the timing of your post!


  5. Wow…this is such a good post that hits home for me Abby! Thank you for sharing what God has revealed to you. Your points are so true but can be difficult at times to move away from those who suck the air out of the tank. Especially when it in done unintentionally by those you close to you. Sometimes God has to move you to accomplish HIS will. Only God knows the purpose He has called us to and it’s our responsibility to obey. I think finding the right tribe is a necessity not an option. Thanks again for sharing. I hope you have a wonderful week and may God bless you and yours in all your endeavors!


  6. Yes and yes, Abby. Your 8-year-old just coined a new phrase for me. 🙂 Great words, friend and may the Spirit give you the breath you need.


  7. Heehee. I love the Lego Movie. I secretly watched it with my husband again, even when our grandkids weren’t around! So true that we need to offer grace upon grace in these relationships, but we can choose who we spend our time with. Your post spoke to me today. I don’t want to be a naysayer in anyone’s life. My natural personality is that of a ‘realist’. I need to be careful that my logical nature doesn’t cause me to exude a cup-half-empty attitude! Great post, friend:)


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